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Steve L

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  1. Never considered having lunch in the main dining room. Does that take place every day or just on seas days when everyone is on board? We always head over to the Windjammer......that spread looks worthwhile to give it a try. Thanks for the pics and the heads up.! We are on Mariner of the Seas in two weeks so really enjoyed your live blog on facebook on departure day and all these pics....
  2. Matt....Do you have a separate bedroom apart from the bunk beds? That's a killer size room!
  3. We leave next month on Mariner and we were notified by our travel agent our itinerary changed from a sea day to a second stop at Coco Cay. I like sea days so I'm hoping this second stop is as fun as the first stop.....
  4. Well I wish you could have read some of this info ( ebates, cruisecompete) before you booked 🙂 The red wine you can bring yourself although it's a nice touch. (you can bring two bottles.... saves a lot on your bar tab!). The on board credit seems pretty low for a balcony. It's all a learning experience. I bought cruise insurance first time out then read my credit card benefits and found out I wasted money on that. Lesson learned. I'm always trying to "maximize". We think alike in that regard.
  5. How did you book it?...which card and through whom. Travel agent or direct with the cruise line? Hopefully you will love your cruise as a newbie. ...we sure did!
  6. You did read that right ....you don't get payed for 90 days AFTER the cruise is completed. In my case it took about 120 days....I sent a few emails to Ebates and they apologized for the delay but the 14% back eventually came. You just need a bit of patience!
  7. Hi Barbara...cruisecompete is a site that has travel agents bid on your cruise. I really liked using them. You just input the cruise line you want, dates, and cabin style and (in my case) 4-7 travel agencies will bid for your business including on board credit and perks such as spa treatments or specialty dinning. It's not a bad way to go but since I found how much Ebates pays you to book a cruise through Orbitz I have used this method since.
  8. Sounds like you have the cc strategy that works well for you. I applaud your maximizing and optimizing goals. I try to do that exact thing in my household!
  9. Hi 2Beeze Yes, I think it's worth it and I have it as my number one travel card. I also have the fee free Chase Freedom card and with it's rotating bonus categories, I channel those 5x points to the Reserve. Then all those points are worth 1.5X more when you book through their portal. Hard to beat that! It has primary auto coverage ( I scraped a boulder on my rental car which damaged the side costing $1400 and the credit card covered that without it being reported to my insurance company). Our cruise ship had to turn around and head back to Cozumel because a fellow passenger had a medical emergency and the card covered our expenses because we missed our flight. The $300 annual travel credit actually makes the true cost $150. I feel very confident that holding this card is well worth it. I always book anything travel (3x points) with this card. Hope this helps!
  10. Yes to question one Jody. The Royal on board credit showed up in my account shortly after full payment so was able to book whatever activity through cruise planner. The on board credit from Orbitz may have shown up when I boarded the ship. I'm not clear on that one.
  11. Yes the 14% was given on Cyber Monday. I made sure to book that day.
  12. Here are the numbers for full transparency: Ebates cashback of 14% $357.28 Using Chase Sapphire Reserve card to book this cruise: 3x pts. = 9,141 pts. which equals $137 in travel thru Chase $200 on board credit for balcony from Royal $75 on board credit from Orbitz
  13. Thanks 2Beeze Yep, it was a good cashback check. The cool part is I also got on board credit from Royal and Orbitz plus this cashback. A trifecta. I used the Chase Sapphire Reserve card to get 3x points per dollar. It also has great travel insurance built into the card so I don't need to buy that separately. I've already booked my next cruise this same way. To me this is a no brainer.
  14. Early February last year I wrote here that I was going to try booking a cruise using online travel site Orbitz and going through Ebates for the 14% cashback that was offered on Cyber Monday. In the past I would use cruisecompete which allows travel agents to bid for your booking but I saw the 14% cashback offer and decided to give it a try. Well today I finally got the cashback. Booked Nov. of 2017 , took the cruise Oct. 2018 and paid March of 2019. Requires lots of patience! When I did need to speak with an agent the Orbitz rep. was no different than other agents I have used in the past. If you are looking for killer cashback %, this is hard to beat....you just need to wait a bit for the money to show up.
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